Friday, October 22, 2010

Addictions Never Go Away

Everyone has an addiction. There is not one person in this world without some kind of repetitive action that gives them some kind of lift. There are limitless addictions from obvious bad habits, like smoking, to dangerous addictions, like heroine. There are harmless addictions, like washing your hands, and there are strange addictions, like hoarding. Lives can be limited by addiction, unable to break free of the jail they have created. 

I have addictions and have quit a nasty unhealthy smoking addiction almost four years ago. In those addicted personalities will always be a little pinch in your brain reminding you of your past dependency. Since quiting smoking I discovered a new habit which turned into an addiction: shopping. Buying clothing, shoes and purses seems to have replaced my need to allow nicotine to float through my blood vessels. Quitting smoking finally made me me feel healthier, resulting in me actually losing weight and looking better. I decided to purchase some better clothes resulting in a weekly shopping therapy routine. I have replaced my smoking with shopping. I am especially addicted to jackets. I gave away some of my old jackets, some of which I had never worn. I have made a decision that my last purchase, a leather jacket, set off a switch in my head, to stop. If I need to shop it will be for others. Christmas is coming, so gifts are on my list.

I have another addiction. Walking around Stanley Park on the seawall. I have tried other routes but for some reason they aren't the same. I either bring a camera or I don't, listen to music, or not, but regardless, once a week I love walking the seawall. The seawall is part of my personal world where, if I see a person violating the bike path or littering, it drive me crazy. Winter always depresses me when the wet and cold weather keeps me from walking in the park. When the weather becomes warm in the spring, the first walk around the seawall is incredible. Regardless, this addiction is a harmless habit and good for my health.

On the other hand, I have another addiction which is not healthy and this involves technology. My dependency on my ipod and cell phone has created an interesting backward evolutionary jump, causing back and neck pain to make me hunched over in pain, similar to a greater ape. Additionally, the position of the computers I work on are definitely not ergonomically correct making me homo unerectus. Looking down at my tech toys has caused a back problem which I am spending time and money in a chiropractic office. I'm surprised I haven't started growing another digit on my hands to text faster.

Other people I know have traded addictions; nicotine for exercise, cocaine for caffeine, alcohol for caffeine, work for sympathetic attention. The trades are happening all around us. Love for money, money for power, food for dieting; people barter for a better euphoria, a better high. I quit smoking because it did nothing for me. I was addicted but never used it as a crutch or a security blanket. It was more social, where I had to give up friendships due to neglect, as I didn't hang out in the smoke pit, where relationships were formed with people who all had he same addiction. Whether the replacement addiction has already begun before the old addiction is abandoned, I am unsure. 

Everywhere I look I see people with addictions; whether they call them habits or routines, they are still addictions. Some do not need to be terminated, others require immediate removal. The addict, when removed from the activity that gives that person the positive feeling, becomes anxious and irritated, regardless of the irrationality of the addiction. Even people addicted to Apple products, become extremely bothered by Microsoft and its PC -related products. Smokers cannot think rationally when experiencing a nic-fit. People, knowing that fast food is bad for their health, eat McDonalds and KFC, putting rationality on the back burner. Workaholics disregard their mental health by not balancing work with play.
I guess the key is to control these addictions by trading off the bad ones for good ones. I believe everyone can't have all good addictions or they would no doubt be pretty boring. I am trying my best to trade off the bad ones. If I kick this damn shopping habit, a whole bunch of people are gonna be getting some pretty sweet gifts. Additionally, bad habits can be controlled to a minimum if necessary. Go ahead and eat your BigMac but just don't do it everyday. Have a drink or two, just don't go on a bender, blacking out. Once the addiction is out of control, it's time for some assistance.

1 comment:

  1. Some very good points you made there Jen. I can think of one more: addiction to relationships. Usually bad relationships!


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